Injuries? (backs, ankles, shoulders, hammy’s, etc!)

Last Friday morning I woke up as I always do and did my breathwork. I love breathwork, other than understanding that practicing doing our most essential function can only improve our most essential human function, it also really peps me up for the day.

I then went about my usual routine but as I reached for a bottle of water I felt a sudden, familiar pain in my lower back. And then it got worse, getting back up to fully erect took a full minute and a half, it was excruciating. I stood there knowing exactly what was going on, an injury from 35 years ago was back haunting me!

Playing football (or soccer as we knew it then) for the Mosman Soccer Club in Sydney was a lot of fun. It was a great club with many senior and junior teams based in one of Sydney’s most affluent suburbs.

I had found myself living in this leafy suburb after my then girlfriend had been transferred to Sydney with her job. Mosman lies on a hill above Balmoral Beach and down at that beach there is a park and one afternoon I joined a bunch of guys kicking a football around there. They soon signed me up to their team, Mosman 5th grade and I was soon scoring hattricks every weekend, which is a true story 🙂 I found myself in the Mosman first grade team that following season and that team played on Alan Border Oval (yes, Alan Border is from Mosman apparently), a gem of a playing surface befitting the local surrounding landscape of trees and old-style colonial homes.

On a Saturday afternoon game while challenging a high ball I fell very awkwardly and landed on my back. Mosman SC at that time had the services of the Australian national soccer team physiotherapist and his diagnosis was a very bad strain of the quadratus lumborum (QL), a deep rooted muscle that envelopes the lower spine.

Years later the injury would flare up frequently as I didn’t have the willpower or knowledge on how to deal with this existing injury. Over time it got so bad that it was limiting my sports and curtailing fitness regime.

One health practitioner, a person that knew me and my body well suggested I stop doing deadlifts entirely and limit my squat range. This he suggested would stop future issues with the problem area. I really respected this guys opinion and took his advice, adhering to it for the subsequent 5 years. At this point I met an amazing physical therapist who did some intense work on the injury zone freeing up the scar tissue and this coupled with a much better understanding of lifting technique meant that I again began lifting heavy deads and doing full range squats. At this stage full participation in my favourite sports had also resumed.

Subsequently I have gathered even more knowledge on the QL and am actively strengthening it with an awesome exercise I found on the Knees Over Toes Guy YouTube channel.

I always push the boundaries when I train and my rehab/prehab stuff is no different and I think I pushed it too far this past Wednesday. Coupled with a rigorous session Thursday it resulted in the huge flare up Friday – it’s all I can think of. It is many years since I had this injury reoccur so I quickly accepted this as being ok considering how far I have come in managing this situation.

I had to be with a client in about 40 minutes from after it took me a minute and a half to stand upright. right after picking up that bottle of water. I didn’t have time to roll my glutes which I knew would help so I continued slowly with the usual morning routine. Getting on the scooter was tough, getting off it tougher but once at the gym I jumped on the roller and started the process of getting moving again.

By that first evening it was much better. The next morning even after 8 hours of inactivity it was better still and 28 hours post injury I was moving pretty well. I had a physio session with my regular physio and she is aware of the existing injury so treated it well.

It helped me enormously that I knew so much about the original injury. It is obviously not the only injury I have ever suffered and I have learned from them all but this one is one of the oldest.

As we age we all accumulate injuries we know of and even ones we aren’t aware of. They happen out of the blue, picking something up like I did, reactionary movements like a leashed dog all of a sudden chasing a cat straining an arm or shoulder or a quick jump on the car brakes giving a mild whiplash. Chronic poor movement or sitting (or lying/sleeping) patterns exacerbated by uneven support (soft cushions and mattresses) are commonplace in modern life. Sitting in cars/trucks/planes/taxi’s, badly designed office spaces and simply watching TV can all result in chronic injuries. I have even recently posted about how bad treadmills can be for human movement.

Proactively dealing with them is of the utmost importance. It goes back to optimal function something we all should strive for – you cannot optimise something that is faulty or broken.

Understanding that we can take measures to improve how we work, how we relax and how we rest coupled with a rudimentary understanding of how our bodies work and how they respond to many of the situations we find ourselves in plus activities we participate in will go a long way to improving fitness and health.

Curiosity has led me to this point in my professional life. I am a seriously curious person and when I apply this curiosity to my passion for fitness it uncovers a lot of very interesting things. And I love to share this stuff!

My wish for everyone is that they take it upon themselves to discover more about the most important thing they will ever own – their own, your own, body. Getting it into seriously good working shape will improve your personal performance significantly. First base is sorting out any impediments to its optimisation. Then get ready to soar!

What are you waiting for!

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